22 steps to a successful grocery store trip with a three-year-old

It’s really simple to spend an hour and half at the grocery store and only leave with 28 items. It can be accomplished in 22 easy steps.

Step 1: Document the experience for Snappers around the world with a caption, “Lord help me at the grocery store with this guy.”

Step 2: Opt for the obnoxious cart to buy yourself a little more time. Convincing the toddler that the red fire truck is WAY better than pushing his own cart. {Lifesaving tip right here, folks.}

Step 3: Get yourself a soy latte, you’ll need something to comfort you. This is a bit of a risk because you’ll spend the precious calm minutes ordering and waiting on your drink. But the crazy is inevitable and I always feel better when I can grab a drink, think, and then respond to the madness.

Step 4: Let the toddler help fill the produce bags and count when you put them in. This is a risky move because of the potential for said toddler to ruin your food. In this outing, he may have “softly” banged the apples on the bottom of the cart. I think I got him stopped before he did any damage. We’ll know later when we want to eat them…

Step 5: Stand around and watch the water spray the produce. Three or four times. This was a major time suck, but I was nervous about pulling him away too soon for fear of loud screaming. This is where Step 3 comes in handy. Text your husband, take pictures, and enjoy your latte.

Step 6: Bribe him with a free cookie to get moving.

Step 7: Stop to see “The Robs” on the way to the free cookie. Also known as the lobster display. Here’s another opportunity to text your husband and enjoy your latte. Almost making it an enjoyable experience.

Step 8: Bribe him with a free cookie to get moving and stop to look at all the birthday cakes along the way. Then ask him five times if he’s sure he doesn’t want a cookie. I’m still in disbelief that he passed up a cookie, but I was well prepared to have to go back across the entire store when he wanted one later. {It didn’t happen.}

Step 9: Let him move from sitting behind the wheel to sitting in the top tray of the cart. Whatever. After making sure that the weight could hold him, I gave him strict instructions to sit down and not stand up. And then I had to stop the cart every aisle while he pulled groceries from the bottom cart to play with. At this point I should tell you that I had been strategically putting all the groceries in the bottom cart, as far away from him as possible. That could have enticed him to move out of the seat in the first place.

Step 10: Threaten to put him in time-out when we get home if he doesn’t stop ruining the groceries. Tell him he cannot stand up and if he does either of those again he will sit where he’s supposed to. {Also where I’ve been putting the meat and boxes because he’s sitting in my second storage location.}

Step 11: Tell him we need to hurry and finish shopping so we can see daddy and Maximus. {Also how I got him out of the house. “Let’s go so we can be home when they get home!”}

Step 12: Threaten to tell daddy he wasn’t being nice when we were shopping. Of course do the threatening after picking up his coat off the floor, grabbing the aluminum foil from a different aisle, and pulling the ziplock bags out from under his smashing body.

Step 13: Try to distract him with a flying bird in the store. Not the best move because he missed it.

Step 14: Help him get back into the sitting part of the cart. HALLELUAH!

Step 15: Try to distract him with a beeping sound. Worked for a while as he tried to guess what it was.

Step 16: Agree to go into the cold room {wine & spirits} to see if that’s where the beeping sound is coming from. But only after we get all of our stuff. Use this as a threat in case he doesn’t behave while we grab the last of our 28 items.

Step 17: Go into the wine & spirits section and drive around the aisles. Then text your husband to tell him you aren’t buying beer because there’s no safe place to put it in the cart.

Step 18: Pick the checkout aisle he wants to go in to prevent a meltdown. Hand him some non-breakable items so he can help put them on the belt. Pull items off the belt when he starts to scream so he can “help.”

Step 19: Ask him once if he wants a coat on and let him keep it off while telling him he’s going to be super cold and say brrr when we get outside. Walk outside the door and stop so he can experience the cold. Then ask him again if he’d like a coat. Take a couple of pictures to document his craziness.

Step 20: Put him in the back of the car so he can put the bags in the car.

Step 21: Tell him he needs to get into his seat before I count to three otherwise he can’t watch his Polar Express movie.

Step 22: Sit in your seat, turn up the movie, and drink the rest of your latte.

There you have it, 22 easy steps to buying 28 items in an hour and half with a three-year-old helper at the grocery store! One other word of advice, always park the cart in the middle of the aisle when you stop. This prevents your toddler from grabbing things off the shelf. It may be annoying to others, but it’s for the good of the store and patrons. Trust me. No one wants to listen to a three-year-old scream when you take things out of his hand and no one wants to see flying food.

Toddler Tuesday

Thank you to everyone who commented, talked to me in person, emailed me, Facebooked me, or sent me messages! You all have great suggestions for dealing with toddler tantrums.

I thought I’d lighten things up a little and show you the other side of Maximus.

  • Favorite activity: playing his drums and singing songs
  • Favorite food: animal crackers dipped in vanilla pudding
  • Favorite treat: ice cream
  • Favorite tv show: Mickey Mouse
  • Favorite song: Wheels on the Bus
  • Favorite word: why
  • Favorite number: five

Things we’ve heard lately:

  • Jood Job, daddy! In reference to doing anything from taking a shower to fixing supper.
  • When I was a little Maximus I sat in that car seat [high chair].
  • Where’s Quinten’s daddy? He’s outside. Oh, out there? Yes. He has the same daddy as you do. Oh. He has the same daddy as I do? Yes. You have the same daddy. Oh. He and I love the same daddy.
  • Do I need to get a new daddy? In reference to an adult conversation with friends about us being “old.”
  • Jood job Quinten! Jood job eating like a big boy!
  • In reference to Quinten crying. He’s sad. He wants his mommy.
  • In reference to not taking a nap. I already closed my eyes and then I waked up.
  • Maximus, why are your pants wet? Why? No, you tell mommy why your pants are wet. Cuz why.
  • Mommy, cover your ears. I go mow and it will be scary.
  • Daddy, I wasn’t scared when you made a snoothie [smoothie].
  • Are you guys talkin’ bout me?
  • Hey guys lets play baseball. [Said to Bryan and I.]

This age is full of fun and games, tears and tantrums, snuggles and giant hugs, running fast and falling hard, and so much learning and mimicking. I wouldn’t change a single minute of it, even if the crying makes me want to pull my hair out. 🙂


Snow day…in May!

The calendar said May, but Mother Nature had different ideas for us. We basically had a snow day on Friday and today there’s a high of 72. Iowa weather is weird. One weekend we pulled out the shorts and the next we had snow on the ground. It was 79 in our house on Monday and by Thursday it was 33 out. SNOW! IN MAY! What the heck.


Daycare lost power on Friday morning. I assume due to the weather. The snow was thick, slushy, and heavy. I’m sure it took down a few power lines. It took Bryan an hour and a half to get the boys to daycare. It’s usually a 25 minute drive. Add to the list of why I love my husband: picks up the boys during bad weather.

Maximus was pretty funny about the whole thing.
“Mommy, we lost the powa.”
Me: “You did? What happened?”
Maximus: “I lost the powa. In the basement. And the tv turned off. For eva, eva, eva.”
I guess he’s been listening to some Taylor Swift, too. No, really. Bryan said he sings it.

On the way to daycare this morning he started talking about it again. “I lost the powa.” So many awesome things about this, but mostly the way he says “power.” Bryan thinks he sounds like Arnold Swarzenegger.

Maximus spent all winter talking about shoveling. While we were ready for warm weather, he was not ready to give up the shovel. Luckily, he got one more day to use it! And his boots! We’ve tried hiding those boots so many times, but he keeps finding them and trying to wear them.


We didn’t expect a snow day in May, but we made the most out of it! Yes, he’s wearing a hat backwards (or sidewise) under his hood. Outfit assembled by Maximus.


Overwhelming love

Overwhelming love. I lay in bed at night and smile to myself while I think about that goofy little toddler. Being laid up for so long has helped me see things in a different light. I just sit here and watch him.

I watch him run quickly to follow his dada. Not letting anything escape his watchful eye. And if he should escape him, he runs through the house saying, “Daaada! Daaada?” Then yells, “hi!” once he finds him. Or other times decides it’s a game to find dada and yells, “boo!” when he finds him. I listen to him run to the laundry room to get his coat when his dada leaves. I listen to him as he struggles to get his coat on. He comes around the corner with one are in the wrong sleeve and grunts for help. He carries shoes into the living room while saying, “shhhsss.” He runs to the front door and rummages through the hats and mittens. He puts a stalking hat on and runs into the living room to show off his work, while grinning ear-to-ear. He brings along a mitten for me to put on and then he claps his hands to listen to the sound.

When someone gives him something to do, he runs with such intensity. A chubby-faced toddler on a very serious mission. One hand swinging quickly at his side, while his chubby feet move as quickly as they can. His chubby cheeks shake with each step. Eyes down as he concentrates on the next step. His right thumb in his mouth. Serious business happens at our house. He takes each job very seriously, even if you don’t know he has one. Miss a chance to include him and his face crumbles. Lips curl up. Eyes shut. Tears fall. To the ground he quickly slumps. His hands come up to his eyes to rub away the tears as he expresses his sadness in not helping. {I use the opportunity to check the status of his teeth.}

I hear him huffing and puffing in the hallway. I wiggle around on the couch so I can see him as he rounds the corner. He’s carrying a basket that was filled with toys. Grunting and groaning as his little arms hold on to the handles and he struggles with each step to just.make.it.to.mama. He hands me the basket and releases a huge sigh of relief. I look in the basket and see that it is mostly empty, but there are a few toys. At the end of the night, without suggestion, he picks up his basket and starts the long trek back to his room. Where it landed, I have no idea. I’m sure in the middle of the floor and not back on the shelf, but that’s meaningless to me. He picked up his toys without me asking him to. He remembered that he brought something from his room that should be taken back. {Let’s not talk about the other bedroom toys that are blinding me with their primary brightness on the living room floor.}

I watch him from across the room as he sits at the table like a big boy. When I broke my foot he was still using the tray on his chair. He was sitting next to the table. Now, he’s sitting at the table without the tray. He’s eating off of plates and out of bowls {he was before too}, but they sit ON.THE.TABLE. I watch the concentration it takes to shovel piece after piece into his chubby face. Sometimes using his silverware and somethings using his hands. I don’t care about silverware or hands. It’s a learning experience for him. I watch him make his goldfish “swim” like daddy used to do to him. I watch him sign more as he tries to say the word. It sounds a lot like “mama.” I watch him vigorously sign please as he says “pees.” Please comes more naturally now, almost without suggestion. Thank you is fewer and further between without prompting.

I pull out my phone to take a picture of him. He glances up from playing with a car. He crinkles his nose and smiles as he walks at me. He wants to see the picture. He wants to have the phone. He quickly puts it up to his ear and says, “ello?” I distract him by pulling up a video of him playing drums. He watches with astonishment. I wonder if he knows that’s him. He has to, right? He sees Bryan in the background and says, “Dada!” The video ends and he tries to make it play again. We watch it numerous times and he glances at his drums each time it ends. In an effort to hide my phone, I tell him to go play his drums. I watch him grab his drum sticks and arrange the drums how he wants them {two drums and a tupperware}. He bangs on them with a rhythm I don’t have. I assume this is a natural toddler thing until I see a child older than him bang on them. I realize that Maximus has picked up much more from his daddy. I hope that he’ll enjoy music as much too.

This little 18-month old is fascinating to watch. He’s always busy learning and doing. If there is a bright side to being on bed rest, it is watching this little guy. My heart was pretty full of love for this little guy. Watching him learning and grow every day only makes it overflow.

For the Love of all Things Clean, STOP Peeing on the Floor!

Dear Internet,

I think you’ve been holding out on me. I haven’t seen a single one of you talk about “issues” with bath time. Not one of you has mentioned that you have a {boy} toddler who pees every time his chubby feet touch the tile floor. He’s got no control of that thing! The only good thing is that he stops moving, otherwise I’d be cleaning up a trail of pee!

I will give you credit for warning me that toddlers love to run around naked. NAKED!!!!!! The thrill is amazing! The giggling is even more amazing! So, we let the naked toddler run around between clothes removal and bath time. It’s the perfect time.

“Naked toddler, please run into the bath room.”
“But wait, Mama, first I need to open up my drawer and get my wash cloth. You get my towel. Thanks! BYYYYEEEE!” Chubby feet pounding the floor as he “escapes.”

Then it’s like slow motion. Fast, chubby feet hit the title quickly. But once the rest of his body realizes that they hit cold floor…the peeing. Ugh. The. Peeing.

I’m too busy cleaning the bathroom to ask why none of you talk about toddlers pooping in the bath. Gross. And for the love of all things clean, STOP!


Mama of a naked toddler

Life with a teething toddler

Content has come and gone over the past month. When there are spare minutes, blogging doesn’t even cross my mind. Usually I only think about it when I’m headed to bed. And seriously, who wouldn’t pick sleeping?

It’s been a less than perfect month. First, there was two weeks of CRABBY toddler. About a week in I had the advantage of seeing inside the mouth of the crying toddler. Much to my surprise I spotted not one, or two, but THREE swollen molar gums. It all started getting clear. The crying at bedtime, the fussiness all day, and wanting to be held 24/7. I pulled out the Tylenol and within 10 minutes I had a completely different baby. He even played by himself while I cooked supper. It was a-m-azing! We took to giving him something when he got bad. It wasn’t the same baby, but it was better than the non-medicated one.


Just when it seemed the molars were under control, he got sick! Like lots and lots and lots of snot. Then he got a cough. And then he got a fever. We dealt with the cold and gave out lots of love and snuggles. Two weeks after it started, we finally felt like it was going away.

Then, the crabby came back. One molar popped all the way through and is slowly making it’s way in. Another has just started to poke through and the final one is taking its sweet time. 😦

After another few days of crabby, his attitude slowly started turning around! Maximus has mandated a few early nights, but we quickly oblige. After all, he’s got multiple sharp objects protruding from his baby gums.


Finally, Saturday morning the happiest little guy woke up. The giggles for no apparent reason, the yelling, and the playing. All things that have been gone for the past month. And the eating! Well, the little pig is back!

In fact, he’s been playing by himself for over an hour. Bringing a ball to me to throw, using his Cars truck to mow the carpet, building with his blocks, playing with DVDs, and reading a book.

It’s been a long month around this house. I hope it’s a long time until those two-year molars come in!